Úz Valley Cemetery

Court ruling: Úz Valley military cemetery does not belong to Dormánfalva

On Wednesday, May 25, the Court of Bákó (Bacău) County repealed the decision of the Dormánfalva (Dărmănești) City Council from March of 2019 in which it declared that the Úz Valley military cemetery was public property belonging to Dormánfalva. An abstract of the decision was published on the court’s website. The judgment at first instance is not final, and an appeal may be launched 15 days after the official announcement of the decision, Hungarian newspapers report.

The court ruled on a joint lawsuit of Csíkszentmárton and the prefect of Bákó County. The court also accepted the request of Hargita County and Mikó Imre Minority Rights Legal Services Assistance to enter the lawsuit, but denied the same request from Dormánfalva.

Sándor Birtalan, the mayor of Csíkszentmárton, told MTI that his predecessor started this lawsuit believing that they were right. “We always knew that the truth and law were on our side, and it is a pleasure to see that the court also acknowledged this,” the mayor told Hungarian News Agency MTI. Birtalan added that the military cemetery is the public property of Csíkszentmárton, emphasizing that the village has always taken care of it. The mayor also stressed that he hopes Dormánfalva will also accept this decision.

In the past, the municipality of Dormánfalva had also filed a lawsuit against Csíkszentmárton, requesting the annulment of the decision in which the village declared the military cemetery to be part of its public property. The municipality of Dormánfalva lost this lawsuit in October of 2020.

In March of 2019, Dormánfalva declared the Úz Valley military cemetery as its own and illegally constructed a Romanian area in the graveyard in April of 2019. The WWI military cemetery was previously managed by Csíkszentmárton and considered a Hungarian burial place by the Hungarian community of Romania.

On June 6, 2019, several thousand Romanians broke into the cemetery to participate in the Romanian Orthodox consecration of the newly placed Romanian crosses, after Hungarians tried to prevent them from entering by forming a human chain around the cemetery.

Just a week later, the competent Romanian authorities announced that the 149 Romanian soldiers, the names of whom were read at the inauguration of the Romanian section, are in fact buried elsewhere and not in Úz Valley. Despite this, Romanian nationalists – some of whom are now members of the Romanian parliament as politicians of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) – have organized several commemorations to honor the Romanian soldiers who are not buried there.

Title image: The old Hungarian wood and the new Romanian concrete crosses in the military graveyard of Úz Valley. Photo: Székelyhon

Author: Orsi Sarány